This week Shacknews is counting down its top ten 2015 Games of the Year, as tabulated by both staff votes and input from our own Chatty community. At a tie with Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, for the #10 spot is Bloodborne, the PS4 exclusive that still gives us nightmares.
Daniel Perez: News Editor: From Software is synonymous with developing games that offer quite a rewarding experience, so long as you’re able to survive its downright punishing gameplay. Instead of developing a game within its Dark Souls series, it departed from the comforts of a medieval setting to a victorian one in Bloodborne within the fictional city of Yharnam.
In Bloodborne, you play as a Hunter who wakes up on an operating table moments prior to receiving a blood transfusion of Paleblood. The old man who is performing the transfusion warns the Hunter of their upcoming strange journey, which will appear to be a bad dream. Shortly after the transfusion takes place, several beasts approach the Hunter as they begin to pass out. Once the Hunter awakens, they find themselves in Yharnam and soon learn something isn’t quite right with the people of this small village.
While Bloodborne offers a similar experience to the Dark Souls series, From Software took many liberties with its combat system by making the Hunter feel more agile than they were in previous games. These changes made Bloodborne more accessible to newcomers, while still delivering the depth fans of the Dark Souls series have come to expect. Additional improvements, such as the Hunter’s Dream, which serves as a hub to access different regions of Yharnam and its surrounding areas, and a more streamlined co-op system, make Bloodborne a game worthy of being included in our Game of the Year list.
Joe Tirado: As a guy who has never really played a From Software game before, I was really taken aback by the brutal difficulty of Bloodborne... in a good way. I can appreciate a truly hard game, because that sense of accomplishment is awesome. For me, the combat was this game's shiny spot. I never felt like the game was cheating me, and when I died for the hundredth time, it was just my own damn stupid fault. And once you mastered that learning curve, beating tough bosses and outsmarting enemies was so damn gratifying that I just couldn't put it down. Pair that with a beautifully rendered world with a very distinct art style, and you have got some GOTY material in my eyes.
DP: You're right about the game not cheating you out of a win. There have been a number of times where I am attempting to make my way through an area I already went through just a moment ago, but died further up. I would attempt to make it through the area as quickly as possible so I could reclaim my Blood Echoes, and in my haste, I would accidentally let an enemy get the best of me, which would result in instant controller flinging.
As I picked up the bits and pieces of controller out of my rug, I would realize that death was completely my fault and not the game. Bloodborne has its set mechanics that we've already learned, but one thing that we often forget is we need to be patient every single time we play it. If not, then that'd result in a death and yet another controller being flung across the room.
JT: Until you get to a boss battle. Then all bets are off, and man are they epic. The sheer scale and setting for all of them leave you in awe, and then in complete horror as you fight your way to them only to get destroyed in 7 seconds. Yep, thats right, the Darkbeast Paarl melted me so fast, I barely had time to watch a Vine. Figuring out the mechanic for the music box in the Father Gascoigne fight took me forever, and although running into a wall over and over might not sound fun, I kept coming back for more.
Bloodborne pulls at you in an almost taunting way, and every time I saw that YOU DIED screen, I felt the inevitable push to get back in there and refine my timing & technique. The trial and error part of it reminded me of another game franchise I love, MEGA MAN. Actually now that I think about it, a lot of reasons why I love Mega Man X are the same reasons I really dug Bloodborne! Tough bosses, tight gameplay, punishing difficulty... is Bloodborne a spiritual successor to MM with old timey clothes and no electricity? Daniel! An article idea! Get on that.
DP: That's a good one!
Shacknews Games of the Year:
- 10. Bloodborne
- 10. Metal Gear Solid 5